Lesson 10: Just wait

“The waiting is the hardest part

Every day you see one more card


You take it on faith, you take it to the heart


The waiting is the hardest part”

~ Tom Petty 

Truer words were never written. Or sung.

The waiting is indeed the HARDEST part, no matter what you’re waiting for. Good news, bad news, a great meal, chocolate, love to come back, love to appear, pain to end…

I’ve been there, still am in some ways, and I know how absolutely unbearable it feels. To be at another’s mercy. To want so badly to know what is going on, and get no response. And now I’m watching my dear friend “David” go through it and trying to counsel him.

So much of life is unknown. Yet as humans, we seem hardwired to need to KNOW. And if we don’t know the answers, we make up our own. Which for some reason are usually the worst-case scenarios. I don’t know why that is.

David in the worst place in a relationship – the waiting place. His boyfriend is going through something that caused him to act out, pull back, and now he doesn’t know what he wants. The past week has been tortuous for David. He was convinced his boyfriend had moved on to someone else, didn’t miss him, never loved him… He finally met with him today to find that none of that was true. Big relief. But that he was very confused and wasn’t sure what he wants. More waiting.

“This is the challenge,” I told him on the phone this afternoon – “to live in the moment, not knowing what will happen next. To not try and manipulate the outcome or try to figure out what happens next. Because you can’t. None of us can.”

As I said the words, I knew how impossible it would be for him to follow them.

I tried for 2 years and couldn’t. Not very well, anyway. The pain and torment I experienced, waiting for answers and any sign of hope that my ex was ready to work things out with me: I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Yet if I were to go through it again, I don’t know what I’d do differently. The heart wants what it wants and I really don’t know how to not hope and wait for it – once it’s appeared and then slipped away.

It is so scary to have no idea what will happen next, especially in love. But the truth is, all of life (and especially love) is so fragile and uncertain – we just don’t know it most of the time.

If waiting is a part of life, maybe we need to look at it differently. As a challenge, welcomed or not, that can give us time and space to make the best choices. Or to find new passions and hobbies. I took up west coast swing dancing during my time in the “waiting room.” It was a fantastic distraction, good exercise, and taught me more about patience and its virtues than I ever expected.

Waiting also gives you the chance to spend time with other friends. I for one know that David’s newfound free time has been a gift to me. His boyfriend’s (hopefully temporary) loss is my gain!

Waiting gives us time – for introspection and reflection. Time to really consider our next move, and past choices. It can be seen as a painful purgatory, or a decompression chamber before the next step in any endeavor.

The bottom line is, like it or not, patience and waiting are both necessary evils in our lives. Anything worth having usually requires a great deal of both to achieve it. We must be patient ­– no matter how far away our goals often seem. Because although we can never see around the corner, everything is always possible.

Just wait.

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